Scrapbook: Week 9

February 25-March 3, 2023

SATURDAY 25 One week on and Rishi is still dithering over how he can successfully parlay his solution to the failures of Boris’s Northern Ireland Protocol. No one seems interested in selling the idea that Northern Ireland inside the EU and the rest of Britain outside it could be a good thing.

📌 Fascinating background story in the Guardian on Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine a year ago and what might have been had Western European nations acted differently.

📌 Whatever happened to the idea that in tough times businesses should favour customers over shareholders. Tesco Mobile writes to tell me that from April my monthly tariff will go up by 10.5%. Could that increase not at least be split and shareholders accept lower profits and reduced dividends until better times return?

📌 The Socialist Worker reports that 98% of junior doctors voted in favour of strike action on a turnout of 77%.

📌 I wonder if Rishi will unveil his Northern Ireland Protocol fix by saying Boris’s “oven-ready deal” has been defrosted, cooked and is now ready to eat.

SUNDAY 26 Last night we were invited by Sandra to the basement room of a Pizza Express restaurant in Holborn, where we ate pizza, drank wine and watched a Steely Dan tribute band. What the 11-piece ensemble lacked in meeting the poetic nuance of the original Fagen-Becker songs they made up for in technical mastery. Thankfully they played a lot of songs from my two favourite Steely Dan albums, Can’t Buy A Thrill and Aja. And one of the two women in the band was just 21 (“yesterday”) but nevertheless knocked out a passable rendition of Dirty Work.

📌 I really hope no-one decides it’s a good idea to make a follow-up to Marcel The Shell With Shoes On. It’s one of those lovely films in which adults and children can share delight. It’s a one-off, a real gem that tells a deep story about the times we live in.


MONDAY 27 The Liverpool Echo reports a Good Morning Britain survey saying a massive majority believe high-vis jackets should be compulsory for cyclists.

📌 Never seen anyone deal with total humiliation with such humour as Patsy Kensit on TV’s House of Games. We cheered whenever she managed to scrape a single point.

📌 At a community meeting yesterday the Golden Baggers, our allotment group, drafted an application for money from the Mayor of London to host a Global Picnic in June, a celebration of international cuisines and music.

TUESDAY 28 Rishi pulled off a massive PR victory yesterday in roping King Charles III into his Northern Ireland Protocol deal with the EU. He knew he could count on the media to make it look like any whingers from the DUP or from his own back benches, plus Boris, will look like spoilsports if they don’t say hooray.

📌 The Windsor Framework sounds like something from a double-glazing catalogue.

📌 Two physiotherapists visited our 96-year-old frail neighbour to see how she was coping. During the visit our neighbour had a slight fall but the physios said they were “not allowed” to help her to her feet and called for a paramedic.

📌 Rishi’s big moment in swinging a deal with the EU for Northern Ireland has been overshadowed by a pair of weirdos on the run who have dumped their 2-month-old baby somewhere and won’t say where.

📌 Somebody on TV’s The Chase said they wanted to win enough money to buy their parents a bungalow. “Don’t you ever watch The Chase,” my wife shouted at the TV, “Nobody ever wins anything on The Chase.”

📌 The Headway Writing Group task this week was to write a 100-word story with the title Ziggy Stardust in Wonderland. I wrote… “Ziggy played guitar, and when he stepped into Wonderland he wasn’t disappointed. Every inch of wall space, floor to ceiling, was guitar. He once tried to count them but always got stuck at the mint-condition 1954 Gibson Les Paul. Not that Wonderland was actually Wonderland yet. Back then it was still a shop on Old Street called Professional Music Technology. Ziggy liked to say what fantastic service you got from PMT. His girlfriend Yvonne never laughed at that. But PMT eventually became Wonderland and Ziggy asked Yvonne to marry him. They lived happily ever after, but not with each other.”

WEDNESDAY 1 On the radio Farming Today reveals that while the DUP are still trying to find fault with Rishi’s Windsor Framework, Northern Irish sheep farmers have already finished the job. Any of them looking to improve the blood stock of their herds by importing breeds from other parts of the UK are disappointed to learn that they are stuck in Rishi’s new Red Lane.

📌 Rishi might be hoping the DUP gives his Windsor Framework the thumbs down so he can show some muscle and press on regardless, making him look more prime ministerial. Watch out for the way he now nails his authority by offing Braverman and Raab. The moderate rump of the party senses a comeback, but when Rishi went on the radio saying his deal transforms Northern Ireland into an unique semi-detached member of the European market he was attacked for being a Remainer in Brexiteer clothing. Notice how I brought sheep back into the story there?

📌 The official title of the Conservative Party is the Conservative & Unionist Party.

📌 In Art Class the project was to depict something red because, we were told, it was National Wear Red Day. I chose one of my blingier lapel pins.

THURSDAY 2 At Headway Horatio told us a flash story he dreamed up last week called The Fraudulent Fisherman. The yarn told of a man who faked being a fishing enthusiast just so he could stare into space and do nothing. The story gets complicated when he tries to bluff knowing anything about bait, lines, hooks etc. The fisherman just wants to be left alone to do nothing, but the modern world has progressively closed down all the possibilities for doing that.

📌 To Barbican Cinema 1 for All The Beauty & The Bloodshed, an old-school one-sided documentary about an old-school people protest against the Sackler family, evil pharma magnates and philanthropists whose success in peddling opioids enabled them to occupy the upper echelons of the art world.

FRIDAY 2 Boris has jumped out of the traps to slag off Rishi’s newly-minted friendship with the EU. Rishi will probably now be forced to put his Northern Ireland Protocol plan to a parliamentary vote. The media will back him and there’s no chance of him not winning the vote, but how much support does Boris still have? And will the DUP stand by him? This is now a big test for Boris. Can he rise again and become PM, or is he sunk, splashing madly in the same political pool as Nigel Farage?

📌 Marxism is being rebranded as “degrowth communism” and the answer to the climate emergency.

📌 Actors must tell their agents, “I need a holiday… Get me a job on Death In Paradise.”

📌 The painful political death of Boris just started.

Read all of my scrapbook diaries…


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